Breakfast around the world: How different places start the day

CNN  — 

When it comes to breakfast foods around the world, there are as many ways to enjoy the first meal of the day as there are to say “good morning.”

From creamy cornbread cake in Brazil and savory Tunisian chickpea soup to fluffy Ukrainian pancakes and sweet coconut jam toasts in Singapore, these 20 international specialties offer a food option for every palate.

And even if the flavors in some of these dishes might be unexpected based on your typical choices, the presentations are likely familiar. Read through CNN Travel’s list – in no particular order – and learn about the delicious diversity of our world’s breakfast cultures. Maybe you’ll even find some inspiration for your next meal.


On weekdays, the Swiss frequently stick to quick but filling breakfasts such as the traditional birchermüesli, the granola-style blend of oats with fruit and nuts that’s usually served over thick yogurt.

But on weekends, it’s time for Swiss brunch. Along with roesti (potato pancakes), cheeses and cold cuts, the centerpiece of the brunch table is zopf. This braided egg bread is similar to challah or brioche, and served with honey, butter and jam.


Genfo is a thick porridge made with barley, wheat and corn flour, and it's a traditional porridge.

When you’re having qurs (that’s “breakfast” in Amharic, Ethiopia’s official language), chances are you’ll be eating porridge. While there are many varieties and names for hot grain cereals served throughout the country, savory genfo is one of the most popular.

Genfo is made by mixing barley flour with boiling water until a thick, sticky dough forms, then shaped into a mound with a well in the center. The well is then filled with clarified butter blended with berbere, the complex spice blend, and dollops of yogurt are often spooned around the edges of the genfo.


Japanese breakfasts fall squarely on the savory side of the food spectrum: In fact, much of what you can eat for breakfast in Japan wouldn’t be out of place at any other meal of the day.

Many morning repasts consist of a selection of small plates, each with a few bites of a traditional Japanese dish.

Fish such as salmon or mackerel, miso soup, pickled vegetables and rice are all represented. There’s also tamagoyaki, a slightly sweet rolled omelet made from thin layers of egg in a rectangular pan that gives it its signature shape.


Start your day in Iceland with a jolt of life-giving lysi: cod liver oil, a plentiful source of omega-3 fatty acids and one of the byproducts of the country’s fish industry. Though it’s been said to combat seasonal affective disorder, among other health benefits, it’s not the only breakfast option.

For a more palatable morning meal, have a bowl of hafragrautur, a thick oatmeal. Top it with nuts, raisins and sugar, or add a helping of skyr, the thick yogurt-like cultured dairy product that’s actually a fresh cheese.


The multitude of dishes served in the hawker centers entice the appetite in this Asian city-state. These open-air food courts are always open for business, and it’s not uncommon to see hungry people scooping up bowls of savory curry noodles first thing in the morning.

For a traditional hawker-style breakfast, kaya toast is a must-have. This unassuming-looking toasted sandwich is spread with flavorful kaya, a sweet jam made with coconut milk, eggs and sometimes pandan leaf for vibrant green color and flavor.

It’s great with coffee or tea, and each stall or shop makes kaya toast its own way – so why not try a few?